I just wanted to start by thanking Nio for the opportunity to try this tea. I have been fortunate enough to try almost all of their teas, and I am yet to be dissapointed. The ship the best organic Japanese green tea anywhere in the world for free and you can try any of their teas for just $3. Check them out here: https://nioteas.com
This tea is from Mr. Sakamoto, an organic tea farmer in Kagoshima. He specializes in Gyokuro and he uses extra soft soil and homemade organic fertilizer to help the tea plants grow strong and healthy. Gyokuro is one of the hardest teas to produce organically, but Sakamoto does an excellent job. I have tried all three of the Sakamoto Gyokuros from Nio and they are all incredible!
The smell of these dry leaves is incredibly complex. It does not have the straight vegetal aroma of its counterpart, cha masume. I’m getting a bit of a dry grassy scent from this tea.
The first sip is extremely sweet. It does not pack the same strength in the umami note as we saw with the Cha Masume, but it is even sweeter. It also offers more complexity. With an extremely low steeping temperature, I am able to pick up on a lot of complexities with this tea. I notice a tiny bit of astringency on the sides of my tongue, but it is very smooth and pleasant. The tea has a creamy, mouthwatering consistency to it on every part of the tongue.
I can detect a sweet corn note coming from this tea, as well as a strong vegetal aftertaste like steamed spinach or artichoke. Although it does have a very powerful vegetal taste, it is very sweet and delicate. It is such a well balanced gyokuro. This comes from the variety of leaves used in the tea blend. I am getting a delicious umami flavor from this tea, but I have gotten that from many other gyokuros. What really makes this tea unique is the balanced sweetness and creaminess that comes with it. It combines this with fresh vegetal notes to create a beautiful tea that is deliciously complex.
I decided to take the tea for a second steeping. I have had this tea many times in the past and this is the lowest temperature I have steeped it at. Although it was extremely good, I was a little disappointed in this brew because it wasn’t quite as powerful as I remember it being. To compensate for that, I want to make the second steeping at a slightly higher temperature to see if I could extract a little more power from the tea.
The second steeping has just the amount of power I was looking for. You lose a little bit of the complexity as you go more towards 160 degrees, but it can be worth it to get a stronger umami flavor and some nice crisp bitterness. This tea has a lot going for it, and that is really easy to see in the two steepings. The fact that the second steeping produces such a different, yet powerful flavor means that this is a really high quality tea with lots of different layers.
I am really enjoying this tea. Gyokuros make me feel super energized and this one is no exception. I am brimming with energy and ready to push through the mid day slump. I love how this tea getsme into the zone. I have also drunken this tea early in the morning, and sometimes it is so good, I need to sit down to enjoy it. I can’t multitask while I drink this tea, that’s how good it is.
Thank you everyone for reading this review! If you are interested in trying this tea for yourself, you can order a sample here. For only $3, Nio will ship your sample anywhere in the world.